BY H. THROTTLE
The last time I test drove a MINI Cooper my neighbor liked it so much she purchased one exactly like the blue test drive model.
Arriving this week is a snappy 2022 MINI John Cooper Works hardtop with a stick shift and 228 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo/engine that can reach 60 in 5.7 seconds.
The John Cooper Works have found a place on racetracks and have three drive modes, Sport, Mid, and Green. I spent most of my drive in the sport mode.
A funny incident happened, I was at a blinking light ramp, next to a flashy new Tesla in the right lane. The immediate sign ahead merged the right lane into the left lane and onto the freeway. I thought, I had better dash out fast ahead of the Tesla. This Cooper is fast out of the gate with front wheel turbo power. The light changed and the Tesla just blasted out with awesome acceleration. No need to even come close to that electric car and the left lane was wide open in his dust.
Driving a Cooper is fun, especially a six-speed stick shift linked to the twin/turbo engine. Where this MINI really shines is on the E470 freeway where it just glides along perfectly in fifth or sixth gear.
The stiff suspension holds the road perfectly and the engine and gear shift works wonderfully well. The suspension is really stiff for racing but rough on bumps and winter potholes.
The interior has a large illuminated circular frame that encircles the information center. There are many switches for heated seats and outside mirrors. The leather John Cooper bucket seats are comfortable and the cabin inside the car is not cramped. The rear seats are very tight and can hold several kids, or packages. The trunk space is really small, large enough for a set of golf clubs, maybe two.
The John Cooper Works model has final assembly in Oxford, England with a German engine and transmission. The powertrain has a four-year/ 50,000-mile warranty.
This is a car that has to be driven, shifted often, and has superior Brembo piston brakes and MacPherson strut suspension front, and rear, just like the race cars.
It’s not as fast as a Tesla, but it sells for a whole lot less, fully equipped with the latest safety features for $40,850 ready to rock and roll.
It’s a fun car to drive.